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Co-Founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. Sven is now writing the Conterest Blog about Blogs, Content and Publishing - in german language.

Inspiration Package: 60+ Usable & Elegant Designs

We all love beautiful, usable and impressive web designs. To achieve them, web developers need to focus on many aspects, but basically it all boils down to the question, how well the content is presented and how easily the information can be perceived. Harmonic color schemes are as important as solid and consistent typography. Precise visual structure and intuitive navigation are essential for both usability and accessibility. In fact, mostly it's a keen attention to small details which gives web-sites a profound and enduring nature.

Beautiful Designs - Oaktree Creative: The pixels, prose and portfolio of Chuck Mallott

We've selected some more of them. Over 60 elegant, usable and impressive designs with a well thought-out color scheme, typography and visual structure. Their beauty lies in the way the information is presented. Their usability lies in the way they communicate presented data. That's what makes them different.

Beautiful Designs - 31Three - The Design Studio of Jesse Bennett-Chamberlain

Next week we'll present the .pdf-version of this showcase. You might be willing to check out further showcasese we've presented before.

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Web Domains: Tools To Use, Articles To Read

A thought-out domain name can save you a lot of time and bring you a lot of traffic. Search engines love topic-related domain names and they seem to be an important aspect which is being used to evaluate web-pages. Besides, if you have a popular web-site with enviable reputation, you might be willing to make sure that your visitors don't get to some surprising web-sites mistyping your site's URL. An overview of related resources is therefore both useful, handy and time-saving. Apart from that: apparently, domain names handling can also be a successful business, you just need to know what trends are coming and which terms will be important in the future.

Screenshot

Let's take a look at essential, hand-picked domain-related tools, articles and resources we've found in the Web during our research.

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21 Fresh, Usable and Elegant WordPress Themes

Sometimes it's just amazing to see, how developers use creative approaches to design amazing layouts, based upon a simple Wordpress template. Every now and again we take a look around, and select Wordpress themes, which offer thought-out design, flexible template structure and conform to the basic principles of usability. The choice is big enough, but the search is worth it. We invest our time, browsing through dozens of web-sites, news aggregators and design-communities and put enhanced solutions together, so you don't have to.

Impressive Wordpress Themes - Dark_Black Release at {one more revision}

Impressive Wordpress Themes - Sharpfolio

Let's take a look at 21 23 fresh, usable, simple and and elegant WordPress themes, which have been released over the last few months. Among other things, we've also selected some of the new minimalistic solutions - all of them make use of clear and precise typography. They're definitely worth a look.

You can also take a look at

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80+ AJAX-Solutions For Professional Coding

Web-developers can create amazing web-applications with AJAX. Stikkit, Netvibes, GMail and dozens of further web-projects offer a new level of interactivity we've used to give up the idea of. Modern web-applications can be designed with enhanced user interfaces and functionalities, which used to be the privelege of professional desktop-applications. AJAX makes it possible to create more interactive, more responsive and more flexible web-solutions. And it's the first step towards rich internet applications of the future.

AJAX Scripts - AutoSuggest: An AJAX auto-complete text field : CSS . XHTML . Javascript . DOM, Development : Brand Spanking New

AJAX Scripts - Comunidade brasileira da biblioteca EXTJS

Asynchronous JavaScript and XML isn't a new programming language, as it is often mistakingly called. Basically, AJAX is a set of XHTML, CSS, DOM, XMLHttpRequest and XML, put together and used together for the same purpose - to improve the user-server-interaction.

In this article we'd like to present a list of over 90 useful AJAX-based techniques you should always have ready to hand developing AJAX-based web-applications. Auto-completion, instant field editing, menus, calendars, interactive elements, visual effects, animation, basic javascripts, as well as an extensive developer's suite should give you a useful and powerful toolbox you can use every day, without a need to go through hundreds of AJAX-related bookmarks.

You may also want to take a look at the article 60 More Ajax and Javascript Solutions For Professional Coding.

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Creative Favicons: When Small Is Beautiful

We love creative favicons. Their beauty lies in the approach a designer has chosen to put something really unique inside of the 16x16px box. Designing favicons, it's necessary to work with miniature images, and every extra pixel can be the wrong one. A good favicon is original, beautiful and - in best case - fits to the logotype and color schemes used in the web-site. Creating them is a challenge not every designer is able to cope with. It's hard, but not impossible. In fact, many creative solutions are possible, but it's damn hard to come up with some of them once you need them.

Sometimes it's enough to rescale the logo to an appropriate size, as shown by Xpanity Favicon:

Favicon

If rescaling doesn't provide optimal results, you can try to extract some parts of your logo and bundle them together, like Kijiji did.

Favicon

We've collected some of them - 40 gorgeous, creative and visually appealing favicons you can use as a source of inspiration, e.g. if you have a creativity block. Images are linked; to visit the page with the favicon you like, just click on it.

You can find further favicon-showcases in the posts we've published before:

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Freebies Round-Up: Icons, Buttons and Templates

Visual design elements can considerably improve the readability of the page. Using them, you can make it easier for your users to scan the presented content and find the information they're actually looking for. Icons can draw reader's attention to the key aspects of the article and visualize the topic of the post. Buttons can be used to motivate users to some particular actions; and templates are supposed to help designers to create user-friendly interface elements right away. And whatever aim you'd like to achieve, free visual design elements are always useful - simply because they can give your text content a better visual appearance.

Umicons

Floatsneak Icons

We've selected fresh high quality icons, buttons, vector graphics, templates and layouts. You might know some of them, but hopefully not all of them. Not all listed freebies can be used for commercial projects, however you can use all of them in your private projects of for you personal purposes. Please read the disclaimers carefully before using icons - they're changing from time to time.

You can also scan through the icons-related articles we've published before:

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30 Scripts For Galleries, Slideshows and Lightboxes

Family photos, vacation snapshots or creative artistic works: whatever images you have to present, you can present them in a variety of ways. On a big screen, in slide shows or in a thumbnails gallery. However, to convey the message of presented data effectively, it's important to offer it in an attractive and intuitive way. Furthermore, the presentation itself can make images more valuable and simplify the browsing through hundreds of slides. Screenshot There are literally hundreds of solutions for web-based galleries out there. We've selected 30 scripts of impressive slideshows, lightboxes and galleries you can use for effective presentations of your images. Most of them don't have any technical requirements, so you can use them right away. Let's take a look. Read more...

11 Almost Perfect Business Layouts

Business companies tend to impress visitors with solid site structures, precise navigation and the credibility of presented content. Therefore business layouts are usually quite unspectacular, mostly informative, but not attractive. It's an appropriate approach if you want to inform your visitors, but what should you do if you want to attract users' attention? How to combine serious tone with attractive design? We've decided to figure it out. And selected 11 almost perfect business designs / layouts used by companies from different countries of the world. Exceel

What does perfect mean?

Different tastes result in different understandings of a perfect layout. The examples we've selected stand out, because
  • they are clean. It concerns both code, text and graphics.
  • they have a balanced layout, all site elements have their own place and are consistently placed on all pages
  • they pay attention to small details; the smallest things such as link colors and headings are well thought-out
  • they make use of white space, which places special emphasis on design and content
  • they use modern design elements, but remain moderate, without extreme use of graphics
  • they use intuitive color schemes and high contrasts to make sure the legibility of the text and the perception of visual elements are optimal
  • not all of them are gorgeous, but they don't have to. All of them are descriptive and they work, and that's what really matters.
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